When was the last time you saw a hedgehog in the wild?
Sadly, the only time most of us see them are when they have been run over, their lives ended prematurely by a passing motorist. Hedgehogs are just one of the many species of wildlife that are on the endangered species list with numbers dropping by an alarming 20% between 2001 - 2005 alone.
Otters too face an uncertain future, even here in the South West which, whilst being the largest rural area in Britain, is also the one experiencing the largest population explosion of the past 20 years. Their natural habitat is disappearing.
The bird population, a good barometer of the health of biodiversity in a region, has dropped 10% whilst in other areas it is rising.
Why does this matter?
The loss of British wildlife matters for many reasons: for the value of the species themselves as part of biodiversity; for the impact on the survival of other species and therefore the wider environment, for the impact on tourism and therefore the local economy, and for the health and emotional well-being which arise from natural living.
What we are doing to help?
Informing and educating
As you can see on our education page, our outreach programme of school visits, lectures, talks, professional training and open days incorporates advice on how to change behaviours to help safeguard wildlife. Setting up a Conservation area. This ambitious project began in 2000 with the planting of the millennium wood, the subsequent planting of a native hedgerow, parkland trees and the introduction of bee hives. The wild flower meadow, planted in 2009, produced great results in its first year, attracting many butterflies and of course providing the bees with a safe place to collect nectar and pollinate the flowers and a habitat for the offspring of our Harvest Mouse Breeding Programme. The most recent addition is the Cider orchard which we’ve populated using trees native to the area, some of which are now very rare.
Planning for the future
Still on the drawing board are plans for a ‘scrape’, to encourage wading birds, supply an appropriate place for starlings to roost for those wonderful autumn shows and build an artificial badger sett with CCTV, so you can watch them on screen and have to the opportunity to see badgers in their natural habitats.
Raising money. All of these activities would not be possible without the generosity of the general public. If you feel you could help, please make a donation now. Every penny counts.